Zimmerman shines in return to third base

By Daniel Popper

WASHINGTON — During the past month, Ryan Zimmerman has more or less said farewell to third base — the position he manned exclusively for his first nine seasons with the Nationals. 

The former Gold Glove-winning third baseman started 25 of 26 games in left field after he returned from a fractured right thumb on June 3. The only game Zimmerman didn’t start in left field during that span was his first start of the season at first base on June 15 at the Cardinals.

But on Monday against the Rockies, Bryce Harper was reinstated from the disabled list after missing 57 games due to a torn left thumb ligament. And with the 21-year-old slugger reclaiming his spot in left field, Zimmerman returned to third base for the first time since April 12, going 3-for-4 with two doubles, an RBI and two runs scored in a 7-3 win.

“It’s definitely going to take some adjustment,” Zimmerman said. “I still have a lot of work to try to get back where I want to be. But it felt okay.”

In the top of 7th inning, Zimmerman made a play that illustrated what kind of ability he still possesses at the hot corner.

With pinch-hitter Corey Dickerson on first base and one out, center fielder Corey Dickerson hit a soft line drive off the end of his bat down the third-base line. Zimmerman took one step to his right, slid and caught the ball cleanly just before it hit the dirt. He then quickly jumped to his feet and fired a one-hopper across the diamond to double up Dickerson, ending the inning. 

“I would say it was impressive if I hadn’t seen it like 500 other times,” shortstop Ian Desmond said. “He’s a good third baseman. There’s no doubt about that.” 

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